Archinect

University of Pennsylvania (Phillip)

  • Finally...

    OK, so I’ve been slacking on the blogging so far this semester. I actually just got some great news this week. My wife, who has been searching for a job since before we moved to Philly in August, finally got a job this week. So we no longer have to scrimp by on my stipend, our savings, and credit cards. This should also help me get into a better routine for my research since I’ll get up with her at 6am everyday.

    Anyways, on to my classes for the semester:

    ARCH 812 - Architectural Theory: Premises on the City (David Leatherbarrow):
    The basic question to be addressed in this course concerns the role that architecture plays in the accommodation, articulation, and renewal of public culture. Were there no threats to public culture in our time, a historical and philosophical study such as this would be unnecessary, but in a time when market economy means market culture and private alternatives to shared culture keep us off the streets and apart from one another, the importance and prospect of public life must be reconsidered. Failure to do so would mean neglect of architecture’s essential subject matter and its grounds for relevance.

    The course has a primary thesis: that the task of urban architecture involves serving and showing what is shared. Put in the form of a two-part question the thesis runs like this: what is held in common in a given situation and how is that accommodated and represented?

    The course of lectures will follow a historical path, beginning in the 14th and ending in the 20th century. Urban architecture and city districts will be the main focus of the lectures, with examples from Europe, North, and South America. The sequence of lectures is divided into two parts, the first properly theoretical, and the second both historical and typological, which is to say focused on the historical emergence of urban institutions.

    ENVS 652 - History of American Environmental Thought (Jamie Blaine):
    Through an exploration of enduring themes and classics, this course traces environmental thought in America from the first European settlements to the present. We begin by considering the preconceptions that Europeans brought to the New World and the realities they found when they arrived. We look at the issues raised by the unprecedented industrial and urban expansion of the 19th century and the accompanying westward migration that filled the continent. We examine how the conflict between economic growth and environmental limits created competing models of prosperity, equality and justice. And finally, we look at ways to transcend those divides and build a sustainable and equitable future. The primary vehicles for understanding the evolution of environmental thinking across several centuries are some of the classic texts of environmental thought – from The Book of Genesis to Henry Thoreau’s Walden to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. The course seeks to provide a theoretical and historical framework that will help students understand current issues and address real problems.

    LARP 780 - Case Studies in Urban Design (David Gouveurneur):
    The beginning of the Millenia is marked by world awareness on environmental issues and concern for the future of cities, especially the large metropolitan areas of the developing world where a high percentage of the Earth’s population will reside. Professions that traditionally have dealt with the environment and the making of built form in a rather independent way are growing closer every day. Interdisciplinary questions and tasks are at the center of the political, professional, and academic debate. Taking simultaneously into account aspects that range from territorial to site specific design as well as understanding contextual and cultural appropriateness, are also crucial considerations, in light of the process of globalization and accelerated change and growth.

    This course will expose students to a wide array of case studies in Planning, Urban Design, and Landscape Architecture. They include: notions of sustainable development, the interplay between open space and built form, the rehabilitation of existing areas such as historic districts, commercial corridors, and the improvement of squatter settlements. Also, it will focus on city expansions and new towns, housing, mixed-use developments, and areas of new centrality. The program additionally addresses territorial planning and the improvement and creation of open space.

    URBS 608 - Proseminar in Urban Studies (Michael Katz):
    This is the second half of my yearlong Urban Studies seminar on the postwar American city. Last semester was a ton of reading and this semester we have visiting lecturers each week and we’re (supposed to be) working on our major research project which, as I mentioned last semester, I am looking at the “Great American Streetcar Conspiracy.”

    ARCH 999 - CIAM Urbanism (Independent Study w/ David Leatherbarrow):
    This class is allowing me to start getting into the topics that I’m really interested in. I’m looking into the urban discourse of CIAM between the years 1930 and 1942. I’m reading one of the major CIAM texts each week, so there’s a lot of Le Corbusier and Sigfried Giedion with some Cornelis van Eesteren, Jose Luis Sert and other thrown in for good measure. I’m hoping to uncover the influence of van Eesteren’s presidency which really shaped the early years of CIAM. My intention is to continue this line of research next semester with another independent study on the late CIAM years and Team 10.


    The semester has been great so far and I’m looking forward to the rest of it.


  • Advance Registration for Spring Classes

    The advance registration period here at Penn closes on Sunday, so I thought that I'd share with you the classes that I'm hoping to take in the Spring. This "advance registration" process is new to me so here's a quick blurb from the explanatory email:"All continuing PennDesign students are...


  • [LIVE BLOG] Re-Imagining Cities: Urban Design After the Age of Oil

    Preface: I just want to warn potential readers that this is very long. It is also not really a narrative. It is essentially my notes from the conference. I hope that you can make some sense of it. I might eventually get around to translating it into a narrative of the day. Anyways, it was a very...


  • A conference, a paper and a research proposal

    Things have been busy since my last post. On October 16th, I flew down to Miami for the AIA Florida Emerging Professional’s Conference. I actually helped organize this conference for the past two years. I’m still good friends with this year’s organizers and they invited me down...


  • Pictures from Home Delivery at MoMA

    This week's assignment for Witold's writing class was to write a review of an architecture exhibit, so I took Friday off to take a day trip up to New York to see the current show at the Museum of Modern Art. I'm just going to post a bunch of pictures here. If you want to read my somewhat critical...


  • Rockin’ in a Furness with Black Kids & Virgins

    I can’t seem to escape Frank Furness these days. He, of course, designed the Fisher Fine Arts Library where I spend a good deal of my time, but he also designed the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia where I saw Black Kids, The Virgins, and The Magic Wands on Monday night. The show was...


  • PennDesign Lecture Series & Two Urban Design Conferences

    Alright, so I'm finally getting around to posting this semester's lecture series. I haven't been able to find a jpg of the poster, so I'll have to type it all in. KATHRYN GUSTAFSON Landscape Design in a Changing Environment Thursday, October 2 6:00 pm B1 Meyerson Hall BARRY BERGDOLL The Philip...


  • via:Occupation Book Launch(es)

    via Occupation, 187-page full-color volume, investigates the macro- and micro-scales that inform how we read, claim, and intervene in our evolving territories. These tactics—not strategies—are covert, clandestine, make shift, contingent, and on the fly, small subterfuges, ruses, and...


  • Week 2: Reading, Lots of Reading

    My first full week at school is now wrapping up. If you remember, I had one class that began last Thursday, with my other three classes kicking off this Tuesday. After being out of school for five years, Tuesday was at least a little bit overwhelming. Here's a (relatively) brief recap...Tuesday...


  • A Selection of Studios

    As a PhD student I don’t get to take a studio, but I thought that some of you might be interested in hearing about some of the studios on offer at UPenn this semester. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but these are the syllabi that I’ve been able to snag throughout the past...


  • The First Week... Sorta...

    Classes here at UPenn started this week.Tuesday was the last day of orientation. It started out at 9:00am with a coffee/breakfast gathering of all of the new PennDesign students in the basement of Meyerson. Then at 10:00am each of the departments split off for their own departmental welcome. The...


  • West Philadelphia Urban Farming

    Yet another orientation entry... On Saturday we were invited to participate in one of several tours of Philadelphia. The tour that I chose was given by City Planning professor Domenic Vitiello. Domenic's current research involves community gardening and urban farming. We started out from Meyerson...


  • Orientation: Continued

    The rest of last week was pretty uneventful. I had several orientation events scattered over Tuesday and Wednesday (computer orientation, fabrication lab safety training, and digital fabrication lab orientation). The highlight of the orientation related stuff was probably attending the Phillies...


  • Orientation: Day 1

    This morning I had the first of my orientation activities, the obligatory campus tour. This morning I headed over to the Graduate Student Center where the tour began. Below are a few pictures from the tour. Pictures from L to R and down: 1) Harnwell College House (undergrad dorm), 2) The Castle (a...


  • Philadelphia Freedom

    Hello Archinect! Warning: This first entry is going to be long and rambling. I’m currently in the midst of a major life change and I’m looking forward to documenting it here on the school blog project. I have always enjoyed reading everyone else’s school blogs, and now that I...


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